East Palo Alto Celebrates New Cooley Landing Park
Cooley Landing is an 8.5-acre peninsula with spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay.
Cooley Landing is an 8.5-acre peninsula with spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay. This strip of land, which is in close proximity to two nature reserves, has a rich history within the East Palo Alto community. It was originally home to Ohlone Indians, and then served as a wharf, a dairy and poultry operations site, and farmland, before eventually being used as a garbage dump for nearly three decades.
Earlier this year, funding came through for the long-awaited project to convert the former toxic dump to a nature park. The community, along with numerous federal, state and local government agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); private organizations, including the David and Lucile Packard Foundation; and countless activists all joined together to make this project a reality.
Present at the ceremony were Mayor Laura Martinez, Congresswoman Anna Eschoo, Vice Mayor Ruben Abrica, various council members, and representatives from the Packard Foundation, Midpeninsula Region Open Space District, Youth United for Community Action, and the EPA. The ceremony recognized the opening of the park in conjunction with the completion of phase I of the project. Phase I involved remediation of the toxic soils by constructing an engineered cap over the contaminated area, as well as installing a mile of trails and park amenities, including picnic areas and benches. Harris & Associates provided program management services for this $2 million phase.
“Harris is extremely honored to have been a part of this project,” said Ed Kozlowski, Director, Construction Management. “This is the type of work we live for at Harris—the projects that really make a difference in our communities. Everyone involved on this project was dedicated to its positive outcome, and we are pleased to have helped create what we hope will be a lasting improvement to the East Palo Alto community.”
Cooley Landing Park has increased East Palo Alto’s parkland by 72 percent and enhanced the wildlife habitat for wetland animals, including two endangered species: the California clapper rail and the salt marsh harvest mouse. Future phases of the project include the addition of educational centers, outdoor nature classrooms, restrooms and viewing platforms.
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